I think you’re going to have to wait at least a year longer, based on the talent and popularity of the guys who qualified for the final 13 in Season 11.
In fact, my initial rankings have guys in the top four spots.
If you missed the news, Idol has decided the guys will sing Stevie Wonder and the gals will sing Whitney Houston Wednesday night.
Hardly the broad themes Idol promised, but you just knew Idol producers couldn’t resist doing a Whitney tribute somewhere along the line.
Mary J. Blige will be the guest mentor. And since guest mentors always have something to plug on Idol, she’ll get to perform Thursday night — a song from her new album, I suspect.
Lauren Alaina will also be on hand to sing her single, “Georgia Peaches,” but I still wish Idol would stick strictly to featuring past contestants on results shows this season.
Anyway, enough preliminaries … Here are the rankings …
1. Phillip Phillips: He’s cut from the same mold as the last three winners and will change up songs with the ease of David Cook back in Season 7. Getting that ringing endorsement from Jimmy Iovine sure won’t hurt either.
2. Joshua Ledet: I hate that “Mantasia” tag Ryan’s trying to pin on Joshua and vow not to use it again. That said, I can see why this guy’s mad vocal talent would prompt a comparison to the Season 3 Idol champion.
3. Colton Dixon: That hairsytle conjures up memories of Sanjaya’s “ponyhawk.” But make no mistake, this guy is a serious musician whose vocals will be much better and who could wind up finishing higher if my predicted frontrunners stumble.
4. Heejun Han: This might not be American Comedian, but here’s betting Heejun’s sense of humor and popularity take him a lot deeper into the competition than his vocals or performance will merit. Especially since no one at the judges’ table will be as blunt as Jimmy Iovine.
5. Shannon Magrane: She’s fearless at age 16, is blessed with a great voice and has the greatest potential to wrestle some of the young girl vote from Idol’s cute guys. Advice: Avoid being boring, Shannon. Pageant pretty performances won’t be good enough.
6. Deandre Brackensick: His falsetto probably gave Jennifer the “goosies.” Last week, his vocals made my ears hurt. But he has range, he has potential and his looks will buy him enough time to develop that potential.
7. Jessica Sanchez: I think she’ll turn out to be the best performer among the girls and one of the best on the show. And I predict Jimmy’s ringing endorsement of her won’t mean a thing once young-girls-gone-wild start voting like wild for Idol’s cute guys.
8. Elise Testone: She’s got the voice to compete with Idol’s best and she’s got the experience to master Idol’s big stage. Her biggest obstacles will be Idol trends she can’t control — voters’ preference for guys and voters’ preference for the younger performers.
9. Skylar Laine: I hope she disrespects the crap out of a Whitney Houston tune and injects it with some of her gritty country. But, let’s face it, the opening night theme poses a far greater challenge to her than any of the other contestants.
10. Hollie Cavanagh: I see Haley Reinhart potential in Hollie. OK, perhaps not the growl. But she’s adorable, spunky and determined, and she’ll surprise people with her big voice … if she lasts long enough to gain the type of momentum Haley did a year ago.
11. Jermaine Jones: Hey, Simon, this second-chance story sure is more believable than Melanie Amaro’s. That said, I suspect this feel-good tale will wind up well short of the Season 11 Idol crown.
12. Jeremy Rosado: He’s proof that nice guys don’t always finish last. And that a little pleading helps. He’ll forever have a fan in Jennifer Lopez, but I still think he’ll be the first guy bumped from the competition.
13. Erika Van Pelt: Her “Edge of Glory” was the best wild-card performance and one of the best of the entire semifinal round. And she’s got too much talent for a first-round elimination. But so did Ashthon Jones in Season 10, and that’s where she wound up.